This is a question that I’ve been asked by a few people. Let me help clear that up.
Firstly – Let me be VERY clear – I am NOT paid by Living.ai and DO NOT ask for payment for testing their product.
Now some background for you on how I got here.
My wife bought me another desktop robot as a Christmas present a few years back. I love what it could do, and the fun that could be had with it. This is how I got into the fun of desktop robots 🙂
When I first heard about EMO, I loved the idea of what they were doing. I joined a Facebook group around EMO at the time and started to ask questions, and give them ideas on what EMO could do that I could not see other “toy” robots doing. I did so because I wanted to have more fun with our toys, even though I’m a grown man 🙂
It turns out they liked some of the things I was saying. So they responded back to me. Pretty soon I was in direct contact with various people within the Living.ai team and I continued to give feedback.
Living.ai launched a crowd funding campaign, and I invested in that. Whilst that campaign is on hold, I’ve kept my order there and will wait for things to be resolved. I decided that when Living.ai decided to open up for orders direct on their website, I placed an order for one with them directly.
Fast forward a bit, and the team reached out to me to see if I would like to participate as a tester of EMO. I jumped at the chance. They have now shipped me a tester unit, which I am using to test and provide feedback.
Living.ai have taken a risk with us testers. They have at their own desire NOT placed us under an NDA. I am free to say anything I would like to about the product. However out of courtesy I will honour a “gentlemans agreement” of not publishing content that is not in the best interests of the public or that I believe could be considered NDA if an NDA was in place. That does not mean I won’t say bad things about it, but that I feel that there are way too many good things to say.
I think it also worthy to recognise that EMO is a generation 1 product. As such ANY generation 1 product will have it’s faults and flaws and things we wish it could do better. That is the aim of engaging with vendors after all is to make things better for EVERYONE.
So what’s my background I hear you ask? I designed and built my first computer when I was 9 or 10. I started a computer repair business repairing Sinclair ZX81 and ZX Spectrums in my early teens, and then went on to working for a firm that was involved in repairing Commodore 64’s, Amigas, PCs and so on. I’ve worked directly for PC vendors, and learned over time the value of community engagement. For many years I’ve been deploying IT solutions for SMB clients in Australia and was awarded high awards from Microsoft for my community engagement. I’ve done alpha and beta testing for organisations including Microsoft, TrendMicro, StorageCraft, Western Digital and HP. All of that involvement has been at zero cost to the vendors, and in the interests of helping them build better products for us – the end users.
I’m acutely aware of the challenges that vendors face as they bring products to market and am keen to continue to help the Living.ai team get EMO out there in the hands of end users. I see that EMO has markets not just for children, but even people in aged care homes, that would love to have a little friend to keep them company, play games with them and so on. I’m not seeing that type of appeal for any other desktop robot pets at this time, although I am honestly keeping my eye open on a couple of very cool upcoming developments, and if invited would be keen to work with them.
Anyway – that’s some background on the why I got my EMO now, and how I feel I can help the team at Living.ai with EMO.